The Rev. Clint Wilson, Associate Rector
St. George’s Church, Nashville, TN
On Sunday, June 4, at 5 p.m., the Episcopal Diocese of Tennessee and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Nashville will join together in prayer through an Ecumenical Evensong service, featuring the Dominican sisters of the Congregation of St. Cecilia, and the St. George’s Choir. This will be a glorious opportunity for us to embody our baptismal unity in Christ.
Additionally, we will join together in common mission in a reception following the service, the proceeds of which will go to support an organization called America’s Kids Belong. This represents an amazing opportunity for us to not only pray together, but to serve together. But what is America’s Kids Belong, and why are our two dioceses seeking to partner with them?
The answer to this question requires a bit of context. Recently the first lady and Governor Haslam launched an initiative called TNFosters, which is, among other things, a call for the Church to be the Church. It was not uniquely a call to the Church alone, but TNFosters invites organizations across the state to “all row in the same direction” with regards to caring for vulnerable children in our state foster-care system. This is an invitation for the Church to be the Church, because it is abundantly clear that we are called by Jesus to care for the marginalized, and the Church has specifically cared for marginalized children since its earliest days. This is who we are.
The organization the Governor had trusted to help spearhead this call is America’s Kids Belong (AKB), whom we are partnering with for our Ecumenical Evensong reception. But again, why AKB? Put simply, America’s Kids Belong is doing incredible work to serve the over 6,000 children in the foster-care system in our state. They have successfully worked to place many children who are classified as “hard-to-place,” due to their age, medical needs, a learning disability, or the fact that they might be part of a sibling group.
AKB produces amazing videos profiling many of these children, a large percentage of whom have been adopted into a “forever home” as a direct result of their work. They are at the front-lines in our community of making sure some of our most vulnerable children are not forgotten. For this reason, we want to support their work and partner with them.
We hope you will join us after Evensong at the reception, which will cost $10 per person and $25 per family.
At the twilight of our days, let it not be said that the Church in Nashville was inactive in this important call of Christ. Instead, let it be said that the Church had lived as the Church Christ envisions and calls forth into his heavenly Kingdom.
Check out a feature on the service and ecumenism in The Tennessean.
For more from Clint and an in-depth discussion on ecumenism, check out the Common Prayer + Common Mission videos.